Have you ever been somewhere new and wished you had a local to show you around? If the answer is yes, you need to know about The Local. It’s a new tourism app and website being developed by a team of students at the University of Utah.
They won first place in the spring 2018 Bootcamp hosted by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the U’s David Eccles School of Business. For winning, they received bragging rights, better grades and coworking space and mentorship from Church & State, a Salt Lake City incubator.
The Local pairs sightseers with local experts who know the area inside and out. The team wants to launch their product in Utah first. Then they hope to expand the service around the world.
“We connect the local population who are the experts of the area with the tourists and all the people coming into Utah,” said Daniel Spence, a cofounder and economics major at the U. “We have an $8.4 billion market coming into Utah each year, and we want to expose what our professor calls the “hidden 100,” instead of over-crowding Utah’s ‘Mighty 5.’”
Other students on The Local team include founder Rustyn Moore and cofounders Becky Peterson, Jack Daynes, Ryan Munck and Ziqing Zhang.
“I hope to continue with this because I see a lot of potential in it,” said Zhang, a computer science major. “Everywhere, tourism and vacation are increasing, and we always go to the same spots. With this app, I hope to expose the beauty all over the world and show another way of tourism.”
Nine teams and about 50 students competed in the Bootcamp while enrolled in “Entrepreneurship & Science” (ENTP 1020). The elective course is open to all students at the U.
The teams spent 13 weeks developing an idea, building prototypes, market-testing them, tweaking and pivoting as needed, and then pitching their ideas to investors, mentors and judges from around the community.
Stanson Knee Brace won second place at the spring 2018 Bootcamp with an idea for a light-weight and ergonomic brace with cables that mimic the internal structure of knee. Two teams tied for third place – CerealGo, an all-in-one cereal and milk breakfast solution, and Chafe Screen, a rub-on stick that prevents swimsuit chafe due to sand and salt at the beach.
“All the teams this year had incredible ideas that show a lot of potential,” said Brenner Adams, an adjunct entrepreneurship instructor who teaches the ENTP 1020 class and managed the resulting Bootcamp. “We expect many of the teams to follow through with their ideas to create products and companies. The other teams all received a great experience that they will never forget including pitching to executives at Zions Bank and learning stage presence from the Salt Lake Acting Company. Most importantly, we believe they gained the enthusiasm for solving problems through entrepreneurship along with tools to bring those ideas to market.”
Learn more about Entrepreneurship 1020 and other classes and opportunities offered by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at www.eccles.utah.edu/entp.